Spring break is coming up soon. This means it’s time to start making travel plans, and most years those plans might include heading to crowded beaches and other popular destinations to party with thousands of other spring breakers.
That said, this year is a bit different, and we really should avoid those crowds as much as possible. Besides, it can actually be more fun to spend your spring break exploring amazing places without the hassle or large crowds of people.
Don’t believe us? Why not give it a try this year by spending your spring break in one of the less crowded, but equally exciting spring break destinations we’ve listed below? We promise you’ll be glad you did!
We absolutely adore Chicago, Illinois and recommend it as a vacation destination any time of year—except maybe during the dead of winter.
Oddly enough, as amazing as it is, this big city isn’t a very popular spring break destination. Yes, you will likely encounter crowds as you get off your plane and navigate the Chicago airport, as many will be leaving the city to go on vacations of their own. However, the city itself won’t be overly crowded unless you happen to be visiting on Saint Patrick’s Day (something we do not recommend if you’re looking to avoid crowds).
While in Chicago, we highly recommend seeing the many amazing museums, including the Field Museum, Adler Planetarium, Shedd Aquarium, and Museum of Science and Industry. Navy Pier is also pretty neat, and the many amazing restaurants in town mean your palate will definitely enjoy this particular destination.
Another wonderful city to visit during spring break, Portland, Oregon is full of amazing things to see and do.
Make sure to see the Japanese Gardens in Washington Park, as well as the Oregon Museum of Science, which happens to be one of the best science centers in the country. Other notable attractions include Pittock Mansion, Oregon Zoo, and the Portland Art Museum.
Besides sightseeing, you’ll also want to budget for food, as Portland is full of incredible coffee shops and restaurants, and is considered by many to be a foodie’s paradise. One favorite is Voodoo Doughnut.
A slightly smaller city, Charleston, South Carolina may not jump out at you as a must-see destination. However, the city is actually full of great things to see and do. In fact, some might even consider this a hidden gem in terms of travel destinations.
This city is 100% charming, featuring adorable antebellum houses, cobblestone streets, and even horse-drawn carriages. It actually reminds us a lot of New Orleans, but without the huge crowds and rowdy parties.
We also love that Charleston has so many free things to see and do. For instance, the Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art is absolutely amazing and doesn’t cost a dime. Additionally, there are beaches just a few minutes down the road.
Palm Springs, CA
Hot springs, spas, and boutiques make Palm Springs, California a destination worth visiting. That said, many feel that this area is more geared to the wealthy so there is no way they could afford to vacation there. If this is you, think again! Park Springs is actually home to a few different RV parks, making lodging here affordable for all.
During your visit, be sure to check out the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway, the trails at Indian Canyons, and the Palm Springs Art Museum. We also adore the Living Desert Zoo and Gardens, and highly recommend it for people of all ages.
It’s highly likely that you’ve never even heard of Jupiter, Florida. Don’t worry, most people haven’t. That’s what makes this little beach town such a good place to visit if you’re looking to avoid spring break crowds.
The beaches here are absolutely beautiful, offering plenty of Florida sunshine and soft sand for your enjoyment. If you can pull yourself away from the gorgeous beaches, you will also want to visit the Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse and Museum and Downtown Abacoa.
As far as food goes, you can expect to find some of the best seafood you’ll ever eat in this town.
Texas Hill Country
Texas is a beautiful and diverse state, and we highly recommend visiting. That said, we do not recommend heading to the Texas beaches during spring break. Instead, make a plan to check out the incredible views and fun times offered by Texas Hill Country.
This part of the Lone Star State is actually a huge chunk of space that encompasses several towns and miles upon miles of gorgeous rolling hills. It’s the ideal road trip destination, as visitors will get the most out of their time here by hopping from one town to the next.
Some of our favorite Hill Country spots include hiking in Enchanted Rock, food in Fredericksburg, the many wineries, natural adventures in Wimberley, and the amazing swimming hole at Blue Hole Regional Park.
Lake Tahoe, CA
Looking to do some skiing before the snow melts away? Many head to Breckenridge, Colorado for this, and honestly, it’s a wonderful place to go skiing. That said, Breckenridge is super crowded, and Lake Tahoe offers a more relaxed, less crowded skiing option that is just as fun.
You’ll love the incredible scenery found in Lake Tahoe, and the adorable lakefront towns are perfect for exploring when you aren’t hitting the slopes. We especially love the downtown area in Truckee which boasts amazing art galleries, live music, and some craft beer spots.
Santa Fe, NM
Santa Fe, New Mexico is one of our all-time favorite places in the US. It is the perfect combination of artsy, historic, and outdoorsy, and the surrounding area offers some seriously stunning views. Good Mexican food is plentiful in this town, and best of all, the place is very rarely crowded, making it a great choice for this year’s spring break.
During your time in Santa Fe, make sure to visit Santa Fe Plaza, the many art galleries lining the streets, and the museums scattered around town. If you enjoy hiking, there are plenty of trails around as well!
Lesser-Known National Parks
Our last suggestion could be the best option for avoiding crowds. We all know that national parks are nice, wide open spaces. However, even with all of this space, the more popular parks do tend to become crowded over spring break. That said, there are plenty of lesser-known national parks that never see crowds. Why not head to one of these?
Some of the least visited national parks include:
- Voyageurs National Park, Minnesota
- Guadalupe Mountains National Park, Texas
- Pinnacles National Park, California
- Congaree National Park, South Carolina
- Great Basin National Park, Nevada
- Dry Tortugas National Park, Florida
- North Cascades National Park, Washington
- Isle Royale National Park, Michigan
These places offer all the splendor and magic one expects from a national park without the hassle of large crowds.
As you can see, there are plenty of places to go that don’t require you to spend time in a huge crowd. Not only that, every single one of these places is absolutely wonderful, meaning you’re sure to have a spectacular time while avoiding crowds.
Want to vacation even safer? We highly recommend renting an RV for your spring break getaway! This allows you to use your own bathroom and kitchen and avoid hotel common areas entirely while still enjoying vacation destinations fully.